Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Monday, March 23, 2009

Katie's Salad

My friend Katie passed this salad idea along to me and I eat it often. Cut up a tomato (sometimes I use sun dried toms alone or with fresh toms), add a can of chickpeas (rinsed) and an entire avocado. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. This time I added feta because feta makes everything better. You can also consider some lemon juice but I don't think that's necessary. Without the feta I think this salad is really good for you-- even though you are eating an entire avocado! This recipe is so simple and quick. I like to put it in a big bowl. Enjoy.
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Sunday, March 22, 2009

Find a Comfy Spot and Read

If there was only one thing I could pass on to my children it would be a love of reading. Most reading in our house is done at night, before bed. I'm a big reader myself but my kids probably don't even really know it! We should spend more time reading during the day too. I put some bins of books in the fairy tent. So far Alex has enjoyed spending time in there. This year in school the kids in Talia's class spend a lot of time looking at books themselves. It is the skill she learned in school this year that I'm most happy with-- she will now sit and look through a book even if no one is reading it to her. She is definitely learning how to read but it seems to take a ton of energy. She is so exhausted after concentrating so hard for just a few minutes. This morning she actually read a book to Alex for the first time. It was very cute.
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Wednesday, March 18, 2009


I know, everyone in the world is posting about spring. I definitely never appreciated the onset of spring more than I do now; with two young kids in Wisconsin. We survived the winter! Even if winter returns and we get a bunch of snow between now and the end of April, the light at the end of the tunnel has made its appearance. The kids have enjoyed being outside and playing with neighbors who, despite living literally across the street from us, we have not seen since October. Today and yesterday when I drove Talia to school I kept having the sensation that I had forgotten something at home... of course! It was the snowsuit, the boots, the hat and mittens!

These pictures are from the spring flower show at Olbrich Gardens. Such a tiny room of flowers on display but just enough to dazzle Talia who wanted to find each different kind. It smelled heavenly and there was a little vegetable garden displayed which put me into a slight panic as I haven't done any planning for mine yet.

Enjoy enjoy enjoy before the weather turns again.
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Monday, March 16, 2009

I made that skirt!

Talia's 5th birthday outfit. The skirt is the Bo Peep skirt from Anna Maria Horner's book, "Seams to Me". The pattern is pretty involved for me, I must say. I mistakenly cut two of the panels an inch short and then decided that the whole thing wasn't going to be long enough so I added the bottom hem (and to the top also, and added a drawstring bow). She LOVES it and I LOVE it and we received many compliments. I have to see how it held up after the wash. I hope it doesn't need ironing.
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Saturday, March 14, 2009

Homemade Gnocchi

Recently I took a cookbook out of the library (Urban Italian). It was mostly filled with meat dishes and other things I won't cook (which is why it's good to take cookbooks out at the library!). I wanted to cook at least one recipe from it so I decided to try my hand at homemade gnocchi. The recipe in the book was simple but it was four pages long with step by step pictures. I bought a potato ricer and got to business. While the dish was quite good, I doubt I'll be making too much homemade gnocchi. It was messy and stressful. Time is really a factor-- you want everything done as calmly but quickly as possible and with my kids fighting over playmobils, well, I was pretty stressed out. It might not be that bad second time around. I know what to expect so perhaps I won't be as stressed. Ron said they tasted like "little pillows of pasta goodness." The tomato sauce was from the book also and was quite good although I think I would put in about half the oil next time...
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Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Today is the day! We made cupcakes together (from scratch with buttercream frosting) and brought them into school. Talia made the cupcake toppers herself. The teachers and classmates really went out of their way to make Talia feel special. I read a story (Pinkalicious) and Alex was so happy to be part of the class for once. Ron had to go into work early today so T will open her gifts tonight with the whole family together.
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Friday, March 06, 2009

Quilt for Baby Kaiya

There's a story behind this fabric- I bought it about 3-4 years ago and made a wrap skirt. I didn't prewash the fabric and it shrank. I've been saving it because I just love this fabric combination. Originally I had a different quilt in mind for baby Kaiya but it just didn't feel right. I went back and forth on the idea of using the skirt and I finally took it apart stitch by stitch. The problem was that I didn't have very much of the fabric. I came up with a design that used every inch. Literally. I added the red stripe with the baby's name and appliqued the flowers to make it look more cohesive. I love how this project forced me to be more creative.

The quilt design just about killed me. It's hard to come up with a design when you have two very different motifs in the quilt top. I wanted something angular, like concentric squares but how would that translate to the name stripe, which is not angular at all? I ended up using a meandering design that crossed the borders of the squares and then did some free form boxes in the name stripe. I marked the quilt top with a washable crayola marker again and it washed out fine. That makes me so nervous! Near Kaiya's name I embroidered a little "love, nikki" in red. If you don't know what it is it would be hard to see it. But I know it's there.
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Thursday, March 05, 2009

Thrifted, $3.99

This bowl is quite big-- definitely enough to serve a small salad for 4. I'm in love with it. My purpose in going to the thrift store was to buy some serving dishes I could bring when we have dinner with friends and then leave them as a hostess gift. The problem is that I have bought three or four new dishes and I've fallen in love with all of them. This one just makes me smile.
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Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Peasant Bread

I made my second batch from the cookbook Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. We ate three loaves from my first batch (it's supposed to be 4 loaves so I'm not sure what happened...) and they were delicious. For my second batch I tried the recipe for European Peasant Bread, which has some rye and whole wheat flour in it. I may have undercooked it slightly, as the crust was a little soft and the inside a little bit gummy. So far we haven't let any of the loaves cool before we ate them, which can also result in a slightly undercooked taste and consistency. It is *really* hard to wait! I have enough dough for two or three more loaves so I'll have a chance to play around with the baking time. Doesn't it look fantastic though? I thoroughly recommend this book!
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Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Talia's New Haircut!

Have I mentioned she also lost her second tooth? With Kindergarten registration coming up and her 5th birthday next week I feel shell-shocked by how quickly this is all happening.
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Monday, March 02, 2009

Organized Art Closet

Ahh, the art closet. This is where all the magic happens. We are in this closet at least 5 times a day. It was a mess. I can't believe I let it get so bad. This is a complete makeover. Let's just say I got to know my labelmaker. Very well. I sort of wish I had a "before" picture but I'm kind of glad I don't. I probably wouldn't even show it. I'm taking bets to see how long this can last. I'm guessing less than a month. It took me about 5 hours to organize (and I needed a babysitter to watch the kids).

I've been really sidelined by illness this past week. I have a bilateral ear infection and sinus infection. I can not hear out of my left ear. Well, I hear a ringing sound. Constantly. It also feels like I just stepped off an airplane and my ear is completely stuffed. The rest of me is getting better. I finally broke down and started taking antibiotics, which I don't really believe in for what is really just a bad cold. But whatever. Luckily Ron has been around quite a bit and I haven't been the only child care provider in the house. The kids haven't been sleeping well either but that's another story. I expect to be better by my next post and I'll reveal pictures of Talia's new haircut and our spectacular 5th birthday plans.
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